By Stewart Smith on 2016-07-21 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
Ford Edge to take on
THE market for big SUVs has never been stronger with 23 per cent of sales in Europe being in that category and the latest to enter the fray is the Ford Edge which is set to take on the likes of the Audi Q5, the BMW X3 and Mercedes GLC.
The Edge itself isn't new, it has been around in the USA for several years but the latest model has been engineered and modified to suit European roads and potential buyers this side of the pond.
It's a big motor, weighing in at over two tonnes, and comes with five seats and a huge boot which will appeal to those who need space for family and outdoor adventures.
Starting price is just shy of £30,000, and Ford say they expect it to be bought by families who have an income in the region of £80,000 a year.
Ford already has a couple of SUVs in the Kuga and the compact EcoSport but the Edge is a step up, and with four-wheel-drive and a reasonable ground clearance it can be taken on some mild off-road routes. Nevertheless, most will stick to the black stuff.
It comes in three specifications, Zetec (Â£29,995), Titanium (Â£32,245) and Sport series (Â£34,500) - and with a choice of two diesel engines, a 180bhp 2.0-litre TDCI with six-speed manual transmission, or 210bhp bi-turbo 2.0âlitre with six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission.
Even the entry level Zetec offers very good standard equipment including intelligent all-wheel drive, active noise control to keep the cabin quiet, pedestrian detection, Ford DAB Audio with SYNC connectivity, privacy glass, stop-start, lane keeping aids, a colour touchscreen and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Other features available as options include adaptive steering which automatically optimises the steering response according to vehicle speed, making it easy to manoeuvre at low speeds.
There is also a front-mounted wide view camera which makes restricted visibility junctions or parking spaces easier to negotiate.
Ford days aound 50 per cent of Edge buyers are expected to opt for the automatic 210bhp Sport version, which was the one I opted to drive first on a mixed driving route, including some mild off-roading, and I found that despite its size it handled extremely well on tight bends and was impressively quiet on the move.
The six-speed auto box was very responsive and smooth and acceleration was brisk for easy overtaking with a 0-62mph time of just under ten seconds and a top speed of 131mph. Ford claims you can achieve around 48mpg.
If you prefer the six-speed manual version you won't be disappointed. It has a slick gear change and a sprint time of 9.9 seconds and top whack of 124mph with fuel consumption around the same as the auto.
As for driving comfort the new Egge should be ideal for long journeys. The seats are very supportive and from a driver's point of view everything up front is within easy reach.
Room in the back is excellent, with plenty of head and legroom for three six-footers and the boot is enormous, offering 800 litres of space - room for a few sets of golf clubs!
Ford says it expects to sell around 3,000 Edges in the remainder of this year in the UK and 5,000 in a full year.
Although the competition in the big SUV market is fierce, especially from the German giants, Ford could be about to topple those, shall we say, over the Edge.
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